Today I wanted to talk a little bit about the cat I chose to be my model for Puss. He belongs to my parents, and his name is Chewie–short for Chewbacca.
I used Chewie for several reasons–first and foremost being that he is such a ham, and he has several distinct mannerisms and habits I could use for Puss. (The most recognizable one, is that he is obsessed with being carried, and as a male cat he is pretty heavy even though he’s lean.) It also helps that he is male, looks distinctive with his half mustache, and is familiar to me so I wouldn’t have a problem describing his body language.
A more emotional reason, however, is because Chewie can identify with Puss. Not because he’s a talking, magical cat–although he tries pretty hard to speak–but because before my parents, Chewie was also a stray. Our neighbor who lived on the corner of the street said she saw a car stop, and a man threw Chewie and his brother out before taking off. Chewie’s brother stayed at the farm where they were initially dropped off, but Chewie roamed the neighborhood. As my family owned horses we have a big horse barn, which he typically slept in at night because it was safe and warm as it was late fall/early winter. He was frightened, beaten up, had a lot of cuts and scabs, but in spite of his mistreatment, he still wanted to be with humans.
In the end my parents decided if he was friendly enough we should catch him and take him to a vet so he could be fixed, de-wormed, and de-fleaed. Thankfully a clinic in area had a special program where they would do all of that for a very low price–particularly if you were doing this for a stray. The day before his appointment I set about capturing him because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to find him in the morning. He spent the day in a small cat carrier, and I felt really bad about that, so I locked the garage up, put a kitty harness on him, and let him out.
I think that moment was one of the saddest animal moments of my life. Chewie–after being cooped up for hours and putting up with a kitty leash–meandered out of the cat carrier, purring. He didn’t walk around, he didn’t try to escape, he just rubbed against any of my limbs he could reach. This cat had clearly been loved at some point before he was dumped just a few weeks before the winter snow started falling.
My entire family thought that after going through the horrifying experience of getting fixed, Chewie would run away the moment we let him outside. Instead, he took up residence in the garage, and apparently decided if we cared that much we must want him in our family. Now, Chewie is our best cat.
Puss is very similar. While he was loved by Angelique he was forced to leave and lived as a stray, until he found Gabrielle–whom he decided he would serve for the rest of their lives.
The love and loyalty of animals is a precious thing. In spite of the suffering they’ve been put through, most pets will put their trust in humans again and again. Because I have seen this kind of love played out, (SPOILER!!) it was important to me that it was the little, orange-colored stray kitty who killed the mouse-ogre and saved Carabas and Gabrielle!
So…thank you for loving your pets–whether they be canine, feline, equine, or other. In your pet’s eyes, you are the Gabrielle to their Puss. Thanks for reading, Champions. Have a wonderful weekend!